My easy orange rolls recipe includes soft sweet rolls with a deliciously buttery and zesty orange filling that are topped with a sweet orange glaze.
Orange rolls are a Southern treat originating in my home state, Alabama. In fact, Alabama has a few places that are known for their orange rolls, served alongside your lunch plate or placed upon your table in baskets. But… I’ve never even tried any of those. Yes, I am probably the only person in Alabama who has never eaten at All Steak in Cullman. But I never did say I was well-traveled!
Orange rolls are small and dainty but they are big in flavor. They are somewhat like a cinnamon roll in concept, but not much like it at all in taste. We start with frozen bread dough and we add a filling made with butter, orange juice concentrate, sugar, and orange zest. Sounds tasty already, right? Then we roll the dough and shape the rolls to look like mini cinnamon rolls. They need a little bit of time to proof before we bake them in the oven.
The final piece of the puzzle is a sweet orange glaze brushed on top of the homemade orange rolls, which is made by combining the orange juice concentrate with powdered sugar. Then it’s time to enjoy an orange sweet roll! These easy orange rolls are so delicious. You’ve got the soft bread dough, the filling that’s simultaneously buttery, sweet, and zesty, and then the sweet orange glaze on top.
I hope you enjoy my simple take on orange rolls and that you get to try them soon because they are surprisingly low fuss and supremely divine!
- Frozen orange juice concentrate
- Granulated sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Frozen bread dough
How to Make Easy Orange Rolls
First, you need to set your frozen bread dough on a plate, cover it, and allow it to thaw completely.
Then we’re going to place our softened butter, a heaping tablespoon of orange juice concentrate, and the orange zest in a medium bowl.
Mix the orange roll filling together until it is well combined.
Now roll out your thawed bread dough on a well-floured surface.
I would estimate that this is about 17 inches long and 6 or 7 inches tall.
Now dollop the orange filling onto the rolled-out dough…
And spread well, leaving about 1/2 an inch around the sides.
Sprinkle it with sugar.
We’re only using 2-3 tablespoons of white sugar here because it doesn’t take much.
Now, to make our small little orange rolls, we take a pizza cutter and cut right down the center of the dough to divide it into two long skinny rectangles.
Starting on the inside, roll 1/2 of your dough up into a log and squeeze it together lightly to help it hold.
Repeat with the other one.
I then cut each log into 12 equal-sized pieces.
I don’t use the end pieces but if you want to use them, just place them in a separate small baking dish.
Grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin and place one roll into each muffin cup.
Cover with waxed paper or a cloth towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
They should look like this.
Now bake your orange rolls in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
To make the glaze…
We’re going to mix together about a cup of confectioner’s sugar and two to three tablespoons of orange juice concentrate until it’s nice and smooth.
I like to use orange juice concentrate because it gives you that POP of orange flavor that I love so much.
Brush the glaze over your warm orange rolls.
- Store leftover in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. I recommend reheating quickly in the oven or air fryer before serving.
- Baked rolls can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before reheating as above.
- I get my dough at the grocery store in the freezer section. Rhode’s bread dough sells packages of three frozen loaves like this and Kroger has their brand that usually comes in packages of four or five loaves.
- Here’s a dough tip: It will be hard to roll out and take some muscle, so I roll it out as best I can and then let it sit for 5 minutes. This relaxes the dough. After 5 minutes, finish rolling it out to the size you want it to be and it will be much easier.
- Place the remaining orange juice in a zipper seal bag and freeze it until the next time you make orange rolls.
- To make an orange cream cheese glaze, use the same ingredients but also add 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup of softened butter. Beat ingredients together using a hand mixer and then spread it onto the rolls while warm.
- For an orange cinnamon roll recipe instead, mix a couple of teaspoons of ground cinnamon with the granulated sugar before sprinkling it over the orange butter filling.
- Speaking of, you can swap the granulated sugar for brown sugar if you like for a more caramelized flavor.
- If you have extra zest, feel free to add it to your glaze as well. The more orange flavor, the merrier!
- I use salted butter for my filling, but if you only have unsalted butter on hand that’ll work just fine. You can even add a pinch of salt if you feel like it’s missing that little something!
Where did orange rolls originate?
Orange rolls originate from the Vestavia Roman Rooms in Birmingham, Alabama. Baker Mrs. Ewing Steele debuted her orange rolls here and then shared her recipe with various country clubs in Birmingham over 70 years ago. Today, the orange roll is associated with Birmingham’s The Club, which serves over 1000 fresh orange rolls daily. Traditionally, they were served alongside every meal and were not available on the menu.
How do you make gluten-free orange rolls?
All you need to make gluten-free orange rolls is to use a loaf of gluten-free bread dough. The remaining ingredients are naturally gluten-free.
Can I make orange rolls ahead of time?
Yes, after you place the orange rolls in the muffin tin, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge so the rolls can rise overnight. Then the next day, remove the muffin pan from the fridge and allow the rolls to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes up to an hour before baking.
Check out these other orange-flavored treats:
Easy Mandarin Orange Cake (a.k.a. Pig Pickin Cake)
Orange Creamsicle Cakes In Jars
Easy Orange Cake Recipe With Glaze
- 1 loaf frozen bread dough, completely thawed
- 1 stick softened butter
- 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2-3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- Place dough on a floured surface and roll out to a 17x6-inch rectangle.1 loaf frozen bread dough, completely thawed
- In a mixing bowl, place softened butter, orange zest, and 1 tablespoon of orange juice concentrate. Mix with an electric mixer until well blended.1 stick softened butter, 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon orange zest
- Spread the orange butter over the dough, leaving about 1/2 an inch all around the outside. Sprinkle with white sugar.2-3 tablespoons white sugar
- Cut down the middle lengthwise with a pizza cutter. Then beginning in the center, roll each side up into a log and press with your hands to seal. Cut each log into 12 slices.
- Place rolls into a greased 24-cup mini muffin tin and cover. Allow them to rise in a warm place until doubled (30 minutes to an hour).
- Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Stir together glaze ingredients (confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate until smooth and creamy.1 cup confectioner's sugar, 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- Brush the glaze over the hot rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. Enjoy!
I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
I am looking for an orange roll recipe to serve for a bridal brunch. These are small and look perfect. Anything I can have prepared ahead of time is helpful. Have you ever made them in advance and frozen them (except for the glaze) ahead of time? My preference would be to freeze them after baking, let them thaw and then put them in a warming drawer and glaze them before serving.
I cannot wait to make these ,they sound so YUMMY !!!!!!! Thank you 🙂
I hope you enjoy them Joan!!!
How blessed you were to know your great grandmother! One of my grandmothers died almost 2 years before I was born (she died very young) and the other one was not a very warm, loving person. All my great grandparents were gone by the time I was born. But I did have one wonderful grandfather who loved his grandchildren, so I was fortunate.
These rolls look soooo good! I am going to the grocery store tomorrow and I will make sure to put the ingredients that I don’t have handy on my list!
Thank you for sharing your recipes and your memories.
Yes Beverly, I have been very blessed!! I hope you enjoy the Orange Rolls!!
Thank you so much for sharing all of your recipes and stories with us! Your Pear Preserves are EXACTLY like my Grandmother made!!! I make them and send to my brothers and their families because they were too young to watch Mom and my Grandmother make them! My grandparents and dad were from Murphy, NC but moved to Gastonia, NC to work in the cotton mills. My parents lived with them when I was born and my grandmother babysat while everyone worked.
They had a cow, a garden and hogs so I was raised understanding farms. After work my grandfather would hold me on his lap in his old rocking chair beside the pot-bellied coal heater and tell me stories about how he was going back to the mountains.. He put potatoes in the hot coals to bake and froze candy bars in the freezer where they stored the vegetables and meat.. I thought that he was the most amazing man in the world!!
When my grandfather retired they moved back to Murphy to a small farm. I had 2 brothers by that time and we made many trips up 74 and around the mountain roads to see Mommy and Earn as we called them.. My dad would help plow with a mule and haul wood off the mountain. Mom would help make jelly, kraut, butter and prepare vegetables for canning or freezing. When my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, they moved back to Gastonia to live with my parents until they died.
Interstate 40 makes the trip much shorter now but not as colorful as the trip thru Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, Cherokee and Chimney Rock. I have cousins who are still there and a part of me will always remember and love that area!!!
I grew up is Mount Holly, NC so “trips up 74 and around the mountain roads” brought back so many good memories. My children and grandchildren just don’t know what they are missing by using 40 to make the trip “quicker”. Thanks Christy for so many good recipes, but I love your stories best! One of my aunts (we always called them ants, but it was not bad) kept pickles onions on her kitchen table.
I was so excited when I found this site, especially when I saw this recipe! My roommate at Walker College and I drove from Jasper to AllSteak on more than one occasion to get orange rolls back in the seventies! Haven’t had anything like them since, so I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks for your beautiful and inspirational site. God bless!
I tried the orange rolls at All Steak in Cullmam amd I’m probably the only prtson in Alabama that didn’t like them! 😀 However, I do plan on trying your recipe for them. I have been trying to find a recipe for them that I might like and would be better than the ones at All Steak. Maybe yours will be the one!!!
Thanks Christy, for your wonderful recollections of times past. The ones in our lives and the time shared make us who we are. I too prefer to stay than go. I love my kitchen and preparing food for my loved ones in it! Your orange rolls are awesome! They sure didn’t last long!
Thanks for sharing your stories as well as recipes! Yours is my go to site~ 🙂